Birding · Wildlife
This loop in Pioneer Park showcases some of the best running trails on Mercer Island.
The park is segmented into three quadrants separated by Island Crest Way and SE 68th Street. After parking on the side of the road near this intersection, proceed around the perimeter of the southeast section. Believe it or not, there are horse stables on Mercer Island and riders often access this trail, so if you encounter a horse be sure to stop and let it pass by.
After crossing 68th onto the northeast section, the trail runs along a ridge, with some nice views and side trails connecting down the ravine to the Engstrom Open Space.
After crossing Island Crest Way, the trail continues around the perimeter of the northwest section. This is the most heavily used area of the park, so expect to see families and dogs. The fire station at the southern edge of this section displays two pillars from the World Trade Center as a memorial to 9/11.
You'll finally return to the starting point for a total distance of around 2 miles. Interconnecting trails within the park can extend your run.
Flora & Fauna
The park was logged over a hundred years ago, but many of the Douglas firs are more than 100 feet tall now. In recent years there have been incidents of juvenile owls swooping down on hikers in the park. Most common in April and October, this related to mating activities, so if you see an owl, keep an eye on it. Also, this summer a cougar was spotted on Mercer Island in the vicinity of Pioneer Park!
History & Background
Pioneer Park is a 120-acre oasis of forest in the middle of residential Mercer Island. Once destined to become a golf course, the island community rallied in 1969 to permanently protect the park from development. The park's more than 6 miles of trails are now used by residents for hiking, biking, horseback riding and, of course, trail running!
Shared By: Kip Olson